West Berkshire Council

Walking and Cycling to School

Sustainable travel information on walking, cycling, and scooting to school for parents and children

The school day begins not just at registration, but when the child sets off from home.  Whether by foot, bike, bus, train or car, the journey to school is an important part of the day for both parents and children.
Encouraging children and their parents to travel to and from school without the car can help create safer and cleaner environments.  It reduces traffic and congestion, and improves air quality around schools.  Children are also more alert and ready to actively engage in class, while also benefiting from the exercise of the journey.

Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy (for Schools)

pdf icon The Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy (for Schools) [1Mb] (SMoTS) helps us plan how we deliver the daily journey between your child's school and home.  The idea behind the SMoTS strategy is to encourage less children to arrive at school as a solitary passenger in a car, and to increase the number of pupils walking, riding their bikes, or scooting to school. Through this strategy, we are able to monitor how children travel to school, and set targets and develop schemes to encourage sustainable travel methods.

These targets are measured each year through a survey. We then use this information to identify which schools have low levels of sustainable transport journeys and may benefit from more support, and to influence our updates to the SMoTS strategy.

School Travel Plans

Our schools play an active part in encouraging children to walk and cycle to school, through school travel plans (STPs). Every school in our district has an STP, and use it to set targets to encourage greater walking, cycling and scooting to school.  The STP also states how they will try to reduce the number of children arriving by car. Within the plan, the schools identify schemes that will help them to achieve these goals.

To help encourage schools to continue their efforts, we are changing the way we monitor STPs. Using an interactive website from Modeshift, we are helping schools to monitor and update their STP continually, and reward those schools who achieve excellence in school travel. Eight schools in the district have now achieved bronze awards, and we expect at least another five school will earn an award by the end of the 2016 school year.

Sustainable Travel to School Reward Schemes

One way we are encouraging children under 11 to walk to school is through two reward schemes.  Our largest scheme is "Go Kinetic", designed for children aged 5 to 11, and "Steposaurus" is for children at nurseries. Both schemes encourage children to walk, scoot or cycle to school on a regular basis, by offering a range of rewards. The schemes can also help to encourage those who live further away from the school, by walking the final few hundred metres to the school gates.  There are a range of rewards available, including reflective bands and the chance to join in with half and full-day activity sessions, such as swimming. 
The following explain how each scheme works, and ways we can help schools get started:

Other Schemes

We also provide opportunities for schools to encourage cycling.  Bikeability helps teach children how to cycle on the roads, under supervised instruction, giving them the skills and confidence to ride their bikes safely alongside moving vehicle traffic.  Further information on this and other cycle schemes are given on our cycling and cycle training pages.

We have also issued guidance for parents to consider how they park outside the school gate.  The pdf icon considerate car use leaflet [426kb] helps parents to understand how they park may create safety problems for other children and adults walking and cycling home, or exiting the school.

The government-backed Change4Life programme may also help give you some great ideas on how to make small changes to your child's journey to school.  Encouraging these activities from an early age can help build good routines later on in life, and help tackle childhood health issues, while also helping to improve the local environment..